Pegging Obsessions

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Clothes pegs; those little wooden or plastic items joined together by a small spring to allow you to hang your clothes on a washing line. We used to have a next door neighbour who would take their clothes from the washing basket and slap them over the line creased and scrunched to dry.

I learnt how to hang clothes on a washing line by watching my Mum, she never taught me, in fact she taught me very little from spending time with me and actually teaching me, but I picked up enough from watching from a distance.

I shake out the clothes, run my hand down the legs of jeans and other trousers to make sure as many creases as possible are removed before hanging them upside down along the edge of the seams. Some items of clothing such as jumpers or other larger items might need to be hung over the line and pegged under the arm to help hide peg creases which might be difficult to iron out!

You also have the option of peg types. In other countries you have wooden carved pegs with slits in, but here in the UK we use the type with springs to allow for a stronger grip. Some wooden pegs twist and come apart from the spring which then makes it difficult to re-connect (as the spring is strong) and others like our old neighbours had cheap plastic pegs that used to snap and ping from the washing line. The clothes would still be strewn over the line but the pegs would be scattered in their garden or on our lawn; flying over the fence from the sheer force of the spring.

I used to buy wooden pegs as they looked sturdy but the problem I found with time, was that the wood would become mouldy when they got wet from the rain –  that, lets face it, is inevitable in the UK; you pop out to the shops for some milk (and yes, we do that here too!) and by the time you get back, the clouds have loomed and the first spot of rain is already falling on those fresh clothes ready to turn them into a stale smelling cardboard shape.

In fact lets just take a slight detour here – have you ever hung your clothes to dry on a radiator? You put them on the clothes hanger but you have far too many to dry and place the rest on the radiator. But that’s not all, you then leave the clothes on there for a few days instead of removing them as soon as they are dry. You go searching for your favourite top for work after a long weekend and realise that its been sitting there, forming the radiator shape for days – drying out like thick card so that when you lift it up, it does drop to its natural shape but remains in that bent over shape. Don’t you just hate it when that happens?!?

Anyway, back to the main topic of my pegs: so after a while I realised maybe I should keep an eye out for the plastic ones. I didn’t want the cheap ones that split and somersaulted, catapulting and spearing my unsuspecting children, I could see them flailing on the floor with one of their eyes sitting on the end of a stick! No, I would find some better ones that gave the impression from their design, that they might be a little more robust.

I found those pegs and have had them now for almost 7 years – I might have lost one or two on the way, but in comparison they have held me in good stead for my laundry needs. The problem I now have, which I started to notice, or at least pay more attention to, was that I like to peg my clothes with matching colours. Let me explain: It I hang an item of clothing on the line (incidentally, it’s a rotary line as my husband doesn’t like the washing line across the garden!) I take out of my bag two pegs (or four is it’s a shirt) and they all have to be the same colour.  Now you’ve probably already realised from this, that the pegs I bought were a mix of colour; blues, reds, greens, blacks, whites, light reds, light browns, light blues, light greens…

When my daughter wanted to help me peg the clothes to the line, she handed me two separate colours. When I dropped one back into the bag and picked up another the same colour as the one I was still holding it led to a stifled giggle and the voiced opinion that I was being ‘pedantic’ and why would they have to be the same colour?.

While ‘pedantic’ might not have been the most appropriate word to use, my daughter is only 10, but what’s more important is that I tried to defend myself and had no reason for my compulsion to mix like colours nor an excuse to back myself up with.

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